Senior Labour Party staffers have leaked to TADS Labour Leader Andrew Little’s ‘lucrative deal’ for Willie Jackson: number 9 on Labour’s list.
After a period of speculation, Jackson was yesterday formally confirmed by Little as a list-only candidate for Labour in this year’s general election.
“I will be backing Willie Jackson for a winnable position on Labour’s list for this year.”
“I have done that because I want to continue to deepen and strengthen our representation of Māori.”
But TADS understands that Little had other motives for recruiting Jackson — namely stopping the former Alliance MP from running for the Māori Party against Peeni Henare (L)* and potentially taking the Tamaki Makaurau (Māori, Auckland) seat off Labour.
Little can’t guarantee any candidate a list placing — it’s up to the NZ Labour Council
Despite Little’s ‘promised’ spot for Jackson on the list, the Labour leader has no formal authority to do so.
Rather, the ranking of candidates is determined by a group of 22 representatives (including Little and Annette King), who are elected to the NZ Labour Council on an annual basis, and form the list ranking committee.
How Labour MPs and members plan to use the NZ Labour Council to keep Jackson out of Parliament
Senior Young Labour and Party members have independently confirmed to TADS that they intend to lobby NZ Labour Council members to advocate against a high list placing for Jackson during the list ranking process.
One source, who didn’t want to be named for fear of losing his Parliamentary job, told TADS: “the 22 Council members are elected annually, and going against the will of the people whom they are intended to represent could result in their loss of membership [to the Council].”
Another long-serving Labour member told TADS that the Council, which was blasted by West Coast-Tasman MP Damien O’Connor (L) in 2011 as being dominated by “self-serving unionists”, believed that Jackson’s pro-charter schools stance may see union representatives also oppose a high list placing for Jackson.
Crunching the numbers: how likely is Jackson’s return to Parliament in 2017?
As the former Radio LIVE broadcaster is running as a list-only candidate, he is automatically illegible to enter Parliament by winning an electorate seat.
The seat allocation process under MMP works with a simple formula: party vote allocation of seats — number of electorate seats won = number of list candidates who enter on the list.
In the 2014 general election, Labour gained just 5 list seats — largely due to their historic defeat at the polls (25%) compared to National’s 47% and 19 respectively.
But with a September 2016 ONE News poll allocating Labour a slightly higher 26%, Jackson can’t afford to be placed much further past number 10 on the list unless Labour drastically increases its popularity at the polls.
Labour members and MPs’ opposition to Jackson joining Labour
Yesterday, Christchurch East MP Poto Williams (L) posted a statement on Facebook refusing to support Jackson over his comments during a 2013 Roast busters interview, where he asked a ‘victim’ ‘how free and easy are you kids these days?’
Williams wrote: ‘Until then, as someone who speaks for the victims of family and sexual violence, and as a survivor of such abuse, I can not in good conscience support him as my colleague.’
This was then followed by an open letter to the NZ Labour Council from Young and Rainbow Labour members.
* The roast busters were a group of young Auckland-based men who allegedly sought to intoxicate young women to gang rape them.
* Labour Party